An environmental charity has won its court battle against plans for a 67-turbine windfarm in the Highlands.
The John Muir Trust launched a judicial review after the Scottish Government granted permission to the Stronelairg development last year.
SSE had hoped to build the turbines at the Garrogie Estate in the Monadhliath mountain range.
The John Muir Trust objected on grounds of impact on wild land, peat and tourism.
The Court of Session ruled in the charity’s favour after judge Lord Jones found that Scottish ministers had not taken into account Scottish Natural Heritage’s objection in principle to plans for development at the site.
Stuart Brooks, John Muir Trust chief executive said: “This is great news for all those who love Scotland’s wild land and wish to see it protected. A financial appeal brought a tremendous level of support from over a thousand well-wishers, allowing the Trust to proceed. Lord Jones has now decided the Trust’s court action was well-founded.”
“Due to the impact this approval had on a wild land area – which led to Scottish National Heritage removing a significant area from its Wild Land Areas map – the Trust very reluctantly took this judicial review against the government.”
He added: “Lord Jones rightly identified that this case was taken and won in the public interest so the right thing for Scottish Ministers to do is not to appeal this decision.”
“The Trust will now be asking Scottish Natural Heritage and the Scottish Government to reinstate the Stronelairg area in the Wild Land Areas map, giving an important piece of our natural heritage – including vast swathes of peatland which help to mitigate climate change – some measure of protection.
“SSE should recognise that this was the wrong development, of the wrong size and in the wrong place. The company now has an opportunity to show that they are listening to communities and tourism bodies and to engage with others to revitalise the natural environment there rather than pursue this damaging development which would cover a footprint the size of Inverness.”
A spokeswoman for SSE said: “We are disappointed with the result of the judicial review of the consent decision for Stronelairg wind farm.
“We will now review the judgement in detail and consider our options accordingly.”
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